Maryland (2-0) outgained Howard 574-146, averaged 7.1 yards per play and spread the love around — eight players scored a touchdown, with four of the team’s scores in the air and four on the ground.
Maryland and Howard had faced off twice before. The Terrapins rumbled past the Bison, 52-13, in their first meeting in 2016, and in Locksley’s return in 2019, they crushed Howard, 79-0, and almost broke the school record for points.
“Our team for four quarters, regardless of who was in a game, maintained the intensity that we wanted to have, and we talked about that going into the game, with the standard that we set,” Locksley said. “No matter who’s in there, we were looking for execution, and I thought, for the most part, we got that out of them today.”
Locksley’s team was riding high after a 30-24 victory against West Virginia in the season opener at home. Last Saturday’s matchup provided a glimpse of the growth of junior quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa and the potential of the Terrapins’ offense with him behind center. Against West Virginia, the offense racked up 496 yards while mixing together an explosive passing game and a consistent rushing attack.
But Locksley stressed during the week that good programs improve from Week 1 to Week 2 and he wanted his team to play to continue to grow, even against an Football Championship Subdivision opponent.
From the first possession, it was clear that the Terrapins got the message. Tagovailoa and the offense marched down the field on six plays in just over two minutes and capped the drive with a Tagovailoa strike to Dontay Demus Jr. for a 14-yard touchdown, his sixth straight game finding the end zone.
Maryland scored on five of its next eight drives and led 38-0 by the end of the first half behind Tagovailoa’s steady play. He completed 19 of his 24 first-half passes to eight targets for 214 yards, including touchdown passes to Demus Jr. and Chigoziem Okonkwo. Demus Jr. had his second straight 100-yard game, the first Maryland receiver to accomplish that feat since Stefon Diggs did so in 2013 against Old Dominion and Connecticut.
Tayon Fleet-Davis, Colby McDonald and Peny Boone each added a touchdown on the ground, and Joseph Petrino tacked on a field goal to put the game out of reach by halftime.
Maryland opened the second half with a scoring drive that ended Tagovailoa’s night. He threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Rakim Jarrett, and Locksley opted to take quarterback out of the game. Tagovailoa finished the game 22 for 27 for 274 yards with three touchdowns.
With the backups in for most of the second half, the Terrapins added 24 more points.
“[It’s] always good when you get to play a lot of players for the development of our team as we’re still in the growth phase,” Locksley said. “It’s great to be able to play a lot of these young guys and see them go out and compete. They pay the price Monday through Friday, and so anytime you get young guys and let them go out and play. It’s always great to see.”
Defensively, Maryland suffocated the Bison’s offense. Howard (0-2) mustered 61 first-half yards — 32 of which came on a pass from quarterback Quinton Williams to wide receiver A’Jae Boyd in the first quarter. The Bison reached Maryland’s side of the field three times and averaged just 2.9 yards per play, while the Terrapins finished the game with five tackles for loss, two sacks and an interception by Jakorian Bennett.
Locksley’s team won its first two games in 2019, but finished the season by losing nine of its last 10. This time around, with an offense that continued to impress and a stout defensive performance, the Terrapins will look to carry their momentum into their Big Ten opener on the road against Illinois on Friday.
“We’re just taking it one game at a time,” Jarrett said. “We got Illinois, that will be a good challenge for us, Big Ten game. It’s a quick turnaround for sure, so we gotta get this one out the way tonight.”